I originally wrote this post for a blog hop a few months back. I stumbled across it the other day on my hard drive and decided to add it here:
Across the globe, there has been much discussion about the concept of dandelion versus orchid children. According to various studies, a dandelion child is one who manages to thrive regardless of her upbringing (picture a dandelion squeezing through a tiny crack in the concrete to present its shining yellow self to the world), while orchids are far more sensitive, withering in dysfunctional environments and blossoming in nurturing ones.
A woman I met at a writer’s conference introduced me to the idea of dandelion children. She told me, having lived in Sweden for a number of years, that the Swedes are fascinated by the subject and my description of Kate (my main character in When Red Is Blue) reminded her of a dandelion child.
When a writer wants to add a feeling of time and place that resonates with readers, one technique is to include a few words or lines of a popular song from that period. This works even better when the lyrics themselves tie into the scene action.
My final draft of When Red Is Blue included about 10 words from Harper Valley P.T.A. and four lines from Down In It by Nine Inch Nails. I had grown attached to these lyrics, having spent hours contemplating which songs to use and then becoming thrilled to discover NIN lyrics that tied in beautifully with the scene I wanted to use them in.
When I mentioned to Brion (my designer) that I was working on getting licenses to use them, he “strongly recommended” that I save myself time, money and pain and pull both sets of lyrics out of the book. Of course, being stubborn, optimistic and in love with the words that were now part of my work, I ignored him and proceeded to try to get permission.
Prior to releasing When Red Is Blue, I decided to come up with a written promotional plan. In it, “KDP Select” was somewhat hesitantly added with a series of question marks after it, following more main stream ideas such as this website and blog, Facebook page, Twitter, guest blog posts and so on.
Once my list was made, I began researching the pros and cons of each item. KDP Select, it seems, has generated lots of debate. I initially came across a number of anti-KDP Select posts, objecting to Amazon’s exclusivity clause. Taking a closer look, I realized it was only to do with electronic versions and only for 90 days, which, in the lifespan of a book, is an eye blink. There were also a number of authors who were shouting to the rafters about how great KDP Select had been to boost their sales. And a not insignificant number who were “on the fence” in terms of whether their sales had benefited or not. Terri Giuliano Long wrote a blog post looking at both sides of the argument.
I call When Red Is Blue a “mevel.” I’ve never heard the term before so I think I made it up, but it’s not extraordinarily clever, so it’s likely someone coined it before me. It’s a dovetailing of “memoir” and “novel” (if you haven’t already guessed).